Home Institution

Davidson College

Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2014

Program Name

Nicaragua: Youth Culture, Literacy, and Media


CANTERA, a community organization in Ciudad Sandino with a popular education methodology, has a mission that emphasizes both personal development of its participants and social change in its community as outcomes of its work. The author of this paper looks at the connection between personal and community development in the youth programs at CANTERA, which include a variety of sociocultural and advocacy groups. The author spent three and a half weeks conducting participant observation of CANTERA's youth programs and interviewing its young people and staff members. The author presents her findings in three distinct sections. First, two case studies of social justice-oriented youth projects are examined to identify civic development outcomes that their participants experienced. Second, CANTERA itself is explored as a potent cite of personal development, with a particular emphasis on its Youth Camp as a catalyst for increased participation. Finally, the author explores the link between the personal development that CANTERA promotes and the community development that the organization aims to achieve. While the community development is harder to evaluate, the author records youth perceptions of their impact and explores how CANTERA youth are changing the people's negative perceptions about Ciudad Sandino's youth. The author concludes by putting her findings in the context of CANTERA's organizational pressures and makes recommendations for further research.


Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Research | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | International and Area Studies | Latin American Studies | Sociology of Culture


Article Location